Jonna Ebel and Sally Kidson of the Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation provided an update to Saugeen Shores Council on the upcoming Gran Fondo fundraising event set to take in Southampton August 19.

Hub Staff

Organizers of the inaugural Lake Huron Gran Fondo event challenged sports teams, councillors and youth to take part in the Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation (SMHF) fundraiser during a delegation to Saugeen Shores Council July 9.

The Gran Fondo, which is set to take place on Sunday, August 19, is raising funds for hospital needs locally as well as putting funds towards a new MRI machine for Grey Bruce Health Services with a first year goal of raising $150,000.

The fundraising event will feature four rides including a 30 kilometre “From Shore to Farm and Back”, a 70 kilometre “Winding Past Windmills”, a 110 kilometre “Pretty in Paisley” and a 160 kilometre “Bruce County Bucket List”.

During the delegation to councillors, SMHF Executive Director Sally Kidson said to date there are just under 300 participants signed up with the 70 kilometre ride gaining the most traction. “We are really excited and pleased,” said Kidson who admitted that while they would have liked to see a higher registration number at this point in time, for an inaugural event they expect between 500 and 600 cyclists.

Rider demographics illustrate that more men than women have signed up to take part and that the most common age is 48-49. “So my question is, where are the young people; where are the 25-30 year olds,” asked Kidson.

The Executive Director encouraged local sports groups and challenged businesses to create teams for the event and cited special prizes for fundraising amounts.

See: Martin's Bicycle Shop gold level sponsor for Gran Fondo

See: Gran Fondo cyclists have a chance to win a flight for two

During a time for questions Councillor Dave Myette asked if people were able to find a list of riders to sponsor on the Gran Fondo website, to which Kidson replied, “Absolutely,” and noted that if one couldn’t find a familiar name in the list, the event’s four celebrity cyclists could be sponsored as well, Brian Longmire, Bill Buckton, Dana McDonald and Christine John.

Later in the evening’s Committee of Whole, Saugeen Shores Council waived fees associated with the two-day use of the Southampton Coliseum which will include a children's cycling event on August 19.

Painting the town blue

With a blue streak in her hair, Southampton Rotary Club President Sylvia Sheard told everyone in council chambers to go blue ahead of the August 19 Gran Fondo.

The Rotarian said the Southampton Rotary Club was delighted to partner with the Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation (SMHF) for their upcoming fundraiser and asked councillors for their support in decorating some routes and the Southampton downtown with painted blue bikes to show support of the SMHF fundraiser.

Sheard, who hails from the United Kingdom, was inspired by Yorkshire towns and villages that saw streets, storefronts, homes and bicycles decorated and painted yellow to commemorate the Tour de France in 2014.

“We’re obviously asking you, with a challenge to turn Bruce Blue,” she said. “Anyone that does a blue display can hashtag #bluebruce and share on social media for prizes,” she added.

Sheard noted that if they so choose, storefronts can purchase blue bicycle window clings from the SMHF office, 340 High Street in Southampton, for $20.

“Use your imagination,” she said. “Get your paint brushes out and we hope that everyone will participate and we will have blue county for a while.”

The Southampton Rotary Club President said that Rotarians and volunteers will be handing out flyers to households along the route to promote going blue ahead of the summer cycling event.

sylvia sheard

Southampton Rotary’s Sylvia Sheard appeared before Saugeen Shores Council July 9.

yellow bicycle

Southampton Rotary President Sylvia Sheard was inspired by “yellow fever” that spread through Yorkshire towns and villages in 2014 to commemorate the Tour de France being held in the region.

granfondo bicycle

Celebrity Gran Fondo rider Bill Buckton, seen here July 5, has signed up for the Gran Fondo’s 160 kilometre “Bruce County Bucket List” ride.